At a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) sentencing, a defendant can face a variety of penalties ranging from $250-$1,000 in fines and from two (2) days in jail to up to 180 days in jail. The primary factor in determining sentencing in a DWI is whether it is the offender’s first offense, second offense, third offense or subsequent. Blood Alcohol Content readings are also used in determining sentencing a first offender. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall are capable of minimizing your DWI sentence. One method our attorneys use to mitigate sentencing is a direct attack on the breath test results (if any) provided in court. An experienced lawyer can look for procedural mistakes made by police before or during the administration of a breathalyzer. Our team includes five (5) lawyers certified to operate and maintain the Alcotest 7110 machine used by police, and five (5) lawyers certified in standardized field sobriety testing (including 3 who are certified as instructors). These credentials give us the knowledge and experience to directly attack the evidence that the state will use as proof of intoxication. Getting a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading dismissed can be the difference between a one (1) year loss of license and a three (3) month loss of license.
When the New Jersey Supreme Court decided State v. Moran they clarified the specific factors to be considered during sentencing for a conviction under N.J.S.A 39:4-50, driving while intoxicated. The court considers the circumstances of the defendant’s conduct, driving record, likelihood of recidivism, the hardship caused to the defendant and their dependents resulting from a license suspension, and any other aggravating or mitigating factors. The aggravating factors include whether the offense caused injury, and whether the defendant was combative with police. An exorbitant BAC (blood alcohol content) reading can also act as an aggravating factor. A defendant who shows concern for victims of their DWI by contacting them immediately after the accident and/or offering financial compensation for damages caused will likely receive a more favorable sentence from the court.
10 Year Step-down Rule. When or subsequent conviction for drunk driving brings serious consequences and enhanced penalties. The qualified attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall make it a priority to protect our clients from being prosecuted and sentenced as a second or subsequent offender. One tool the court provides to achieve this is the “10 year stepdown rule”. A defendant who commits a second DWI more than 10 years after their first will be treated as a first offender. However if the same defendant commits a third DWI within 10 years of the second offense, he will be treated as a third offender (despite 10 years having passed since the first offense). The court’s rationale for this is simple; the stepdown rule does not eliminate past offenses from a driver’s record. The only way a third offender can use the stepdown rule to be treated as a second offender is if the third offense was committed in excess of 10 years after the second offense. It is also important to note that the 10 year stepdown rule does not apply to a companion “refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test” charge, which is enhanced on a subsequent DWI. Proper application of the 10 year stepdown rule can greatly mitigate sentencing for a repeat offender and should be examined at great length. The Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall have over 100 years of criminal legal experience and are familiar with local courts throughout New Jersey.